FICTION

Mother of Invention

Little A: Amazon. May 2018. 353p. ISBN 9781503950078. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781503951846. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781477848302. F
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Widger's second novel (after Real Happy Family) explores the impact of technology on human biology. It is 2021, and Tessa Callahan is a power player in the still male-centric Silicon Valley. Her latest project, with her business partner Luke Zimmerman, allows a woman to complete a pregnancy in just nine weeks. Part of the project requires Tessa to bond with the first three women to undergo the experience who have been dubbed "The Cohort." Her own marital issues and ambivalence about childbearing sometimes make this difficult. Luke developed the project after learning about women who experienced accelerated gestation (AG) in the 1990s, with no explainable reason. As the child of a famous Mark Zuckerberg type, Luke is driven to be as successful as his father and does not worry too much about how he gets there. As members of the Cohort begin their AG experience, the fate of the original AG mothers and children from the 1990s is revealed, as is disturbing government involvement.
VERDICT Complicated relationships, imperfect technology, and a semidystopian backstory make this an intriguing read. For fans of Dave Eggers's The Circle and the novels of Max Barry.

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